Government mulls free studies for hardcore poor to pursue higher education
Published on: Saturday, February 04, 2023
By: Bernama
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Higher education minister Khaled Nordin said the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme would undergo a major revamp to produce more technologically-competent students. (Bernama pic)
PUTRAJAYA: The higher education ministry intends to introduce a sponsorship programme to enable free studies for first-generation students from poor families to help them pursue their education at institutions of higher learning.

Minister Khaled Nordin said this proposal would be tabled at a Cabinet meeting for approval.

“This measure will end poverty once the student acquires knowledge and skills,” he said when speaking at the ministry’s new year mandate.

Besides this proposal, Khaled said the ministry also planned to conduct a study to convert the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN), which provides funds to students for tertiary education, into a national trust fund.

“We want to reduce PTPTN’s debt burden to ensure its sustainability and make it a national education financing institution that allows all individuals, from inside and outside the country, to contribute to the funding of the country’s higher education,” he said.

Khaled said the ministry was also exploring a more flexible education approach, combining face-to-face learning with virtual elements, to take advantage of digital platforms and technology.

He said this would have a significant impact on reducing the cost of education.

Khaled also called on the ministry’s staff to educate students to be on the right track to achieve greater academic standards.

He said the focus should no longer just be on soft and practical skills, but on the need to be equipped with artificial intelligence for managing people and technology.

“Maturity in controlling their emotions, multilingual skills, negotiation skills, the ability to lead discussions and work effectively as a team — all these are smart skills.”

On the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme, he said it would undergo a major revamp to produce more skilled and technologically-competent students.

“The country needs many individuals who have the skills and technological competence to be future-proof.”

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